I’d heard mention of Creature in the Well (CitW) so I decided to give it a go for this month’s podcast. In it, you play as the last surviving BOT-C unit, a robot who’s decided they’re going to reactivate a machine deep in a mountain that’s haunted by the titular creature.
In order to restore to machine to working order and power the nearby village, you have to hit orbs with your sword (or similar) to charge them up and then knock them into other objects using your best pinball skills. Basically, CitW is a dungeon-crawling pinball game that plays like a hack and slash but sometimes feel like a bullet hell.
So is it a winning combination or are its disparate inspirations just too much?
- An interesting combination of mechanics
- Fantastic visuals
- Fascinating worldbuilding
- Repetitive gameplay
- Unclear player feedback
The first thing you’ll notice when you play CitW is the game’s excellent visuals and it’s always nice to play an indie game that doesn’t make use of pixel art but rather some stark colours and textures reminiscent of early 00s cel-shading.
The gameplay is a fascinating blend and initially, you’ll find hitting the orbs cathartic and fun. However, with only two buttons (one to slash and charge orbs and one to hit them), there’s not that much depth to the gameplay itself and it can quickly get repetitive hitting the same two buttons over and over, often in the same combination.
The depth in the gameplay comes from the puzzles and levels you have to overcome by charging and hitting the orbs. Some parts of the game can be really challenging and there’s definitely some rewarding gameplay to be had here, but I wouldn’t blame you if you got sick of it after a long session.
For me, with all the visual effects and numbers flying up all over the screen amid the ensuing chaos, it can be tricky seeing what’s going on and whether you’re doing anything right at all. In some instances, I’d complete challenges effortlessly and have no idea how I did it and in other cases, I’d be struggling for ages trying to work out just how many times I’d need to hit something to complete a section.
Fortunately, the game’s negatives are held up by the intriguing world in which it takes place. When I tired a bit of the gameplay, I’d still find myself playing because I wanted to delve deeper into the world.
Creature in the Well is a fun game and you’ll quickly be drawn into the simple gameplay. While you probably won’t feel like playing it for hours on end, it’s an enjoyable game to play little and often. It’s by no means a bad game and personally, I enjoyed it, but I think a game about a well should have more depth.